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Radio Free Albemuth

(VALIS Trilogy)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  5,561 ratings  ·  323 reviews
In the late 1960s a paranoid incompetent has schemed his way into the White House and convulsed America in a vicious war against imaginary internal enemies. A struggling science Fiction writer named Philip K. Dick is trying to keep from becoming one of that war's casualties. And Dick's best friend, a record executive named Nicholas Brady, is receiving transmissions from an ...more
Paperback, 214 pages
Published April 14th 1998 by Vintage (first published 1985)
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Love of Hopeless Causes If memory serves, they are all related to Phil's magic moment when he sees the fish pendant. "Valis" is the best synthesis. "Albemuth" is the closest …moreIf memory serves, they are all related to Phil's magic moment when he sees the fish pendant. "Valis" is the best synthesis. "Albemuth" is the closest to Phil's real life experience. "The Divine Invasion," is the easiest to read, and "Exegesis" is too far out for most.

The tone, plot, and POV are different. Yet they all attempt to make sense of the same week in Phil's existence. Valis is louder and trippier than Albemuth. Albemuth has the more adult (and Christian) perspective.

"The Shifting Realities of PKD," explains the forgetful god and the artifact and that makes the whole show run. This is also explained in "Exegesis" as well as the BIP theory or Black Iron Prison Planets. So if you liked "Albemuth" try "Divine Invasion." What a weird answer to type, but I believe this is all accurate.(less)

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Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
There are many talented writers who could tell the story of an America that had been surreptitiously taken over internally by a power mad fascist who closely resembled Richard Nixon.

It takes a genius of Philip K. Dick’s stature to tell the same story while also maintaining sub-plots involving alien telepathic transmissions, erudite references to God and the Bible, alternate realities, mental illness, drug use, schizophrenic delusions and enough conspiracy theories to choke a wub.

This, in a nut
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, scifi, american, fiction
"This, I realized, is how a man becomes what he is not: by doing what he could never do"
- Philip K Dick, Radio Free Albemuth


My brother and I were discussing how PKD would absolutely lose his shit to see how much the world has become what he wrote. I think he would AND wouldn't be surprised by Facebook, the NSA, the surveillance state, cellphones, robots, talking refrigerators, fake news, pharmaceuticals, Trump, perpetual war, fake news, virtual reality, corporatism, etc.

For me this book was a
Richard Derus
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Real Rating: 3.5* of five

What a damned miracle it is to find this book again. In the Year of Our Suffering 2018, the weird way of PKD's imaginary travels has become our reality. Yuck! The fact that this wasn't published until after PKD's death suggests to me it wasn't fully baked yet. That is pretty much how I felt about the writing. He just didn't have a chance to get down into the working parts of the book before he died.

But damn, it's really really really scary how the imaginarium in his head
Radio Free Albemuth: Divine messages via a pink laser from space
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Radio Free Albemuth was written in 1976 but only published posthumously in 1985. Even for Philip K Dick, this is a bizarre and partly deranged book. It’s a deeply personal autobiographical attempt for him to make sense of a series of bizarre religious experiences he collectively referred to as “2-3-74”. So if you are only a casual fan of PKD’s books or movies, this is probably not for you. Howe

I was about a third of the way through this novel before I remembered that not only have I seen the movie, but I've met the director (or at least someone who claimed to be the director). This was in December '12, in a major American city, at a UFO conference I attended for reasons that simply mustn't be discussed here, nor even so much as hinted at, and I asked him why he'd chosen to adapt this novel in particular.

Unfortunately I don't remember what he said, but I think the reason I asked is tha
Jan 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels, pk-dick, sci-fic, audio
Can P.K. Dick please stop being so damn ahead of his time?! I promised myself I wouldn't read any more books about the current depraved political landscape, and I just wanted some nice trippy escapism. Somehow I forgot how poignant this 1976 book would be...

Get this: In Radio Free Albemuth (the sort of 4th book post-script of the VALIS trilogy), there is a dystopian present in which the president is below average right-wing idiot who has used the lowest common denominator of paranoia to claw his
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if I just read a book about aliens or a book about religion. Maybe it was both. The book started off interesting enough but the middle part was a chore reading about all the different theories the two came up with and then there was a long, long Bible lesson. I still don't know what to think about the ending...WTF sums it up about right I guess. ...more
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sublime. In what are essentially many of the same themes from VALIS, PKD again plunges us into a semi-autobiographical world of paranoia, conspiracy theories, alien/divine influences and an alternate reality of political tyranny, cold war fervor and McCarthyism. Well crafted and paced, and told through multiple narrators, including PKD as himself. ...more
Mar 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: b-c, hardcover
This one was PKD's the first shot at novelizing his Feb.'74 experience. Sometimes one's first ideas are maybe not the most developed or executed but are still essentially the best.

He used his own name in this one, rather than "Horselover Fat" which he used in Valis. Horselover Fat: narrator; Philip in Greek means "fond of horses"; "dick" is German for "fat", which is clever.

It is another strange yet entertaining and enjoyable and unforgettable story of extreme paranoia. It reads more like one of
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: PKD fans, Gnostics, UFOlogists
I believe this was the first book I ever read by Phlip K. Dick. It wasn't published during his lifetime, although he used themes from it in his book VALIS and its sequels. Basically, it is set in a world slightly ahead of the time it was written, in which totalitarianism has begun to take hold in America through President Ferris Fremont and his “FAP” (“Friends of the American People”) movement. In the midst of this, an obscure record clerk in Berkeley starts getting messages from space, which ro ...more
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn't expect I'd like it so much. I wanted to read mostly to read about some things mentioned in biographies, interviews etc.
Now, this is quite well written for Dick's standard. Some of his books are obviously produced to quickly and are thus lacking a bit in writing quality although the ideas and the plot are usually mind blowing. This one combines a fine science fiction story, good writing, nice twists and a lot of clues from Dick's life. Of course he is himself a character of the book but
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
This novel was published posthumously, set from a completed and corrected manuscript that Dick left to a friend. It contrasts starkly with the completely niave prose of Dick's early work, the author being so technically assured as to even change narrators in mid sentence...twice.


See the complete review here:
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
A dystopian tale set in a USA under a totalitarian President who is merely a puppet for Russia.

Ideal escapist fiction in today's world!
Regina Watts
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Super fascinating precursor to VALIS and very, very good.
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although not officially categorized as part of the Valis "trilogy," Radio Free Albemuth is clearly a companion to Valis.
Published after his death, this was Philip K. Dick's first attempt at novelizing his strange experiences of February and March 1974.

Radio Free Albemuth hits many of the same notes as Valis, but is a more straightforward and polished narrative. Where Valis is trippy and disjointed, Albemuth is a politcal dystopian novel, similar to A Scanner Darkly. I would go so far as to call
‘As his eyes adjusted to the gloom he saw the floating patches of colour, but they were receding from him faster and faster as his thoughts - manic, the psychiatrist had said - matched their velocity. They’re escaping, he thought, and so is my head; my mind is going along with them.’

Radio Free Albemuth was written in 1976 and published posthumously in 1985. It has been suggested that this was only a first draft which Dick abandoned before going on to write VALIS (published in 1981). He wrote it
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think I've only read one Philip K. Dick book before, and that was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and I didn't really get on with that. I wonder now if that was due to different interests at the time, not settling down with it enough... because I did enjoy Radio Free Albemuth, and it's making me want to try going back to Do Androids Dream and to some of Dick's other work, and have another try.

It's a smooth read, confidently written, and easy to follow -- which as I recall, was my problem
Jun 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
The cover of my '80s-era paperback edition of Dick's novel screeches, "Newly discovered! His final and most prophetic novel," the kind of come-on you'll find on most covers of most of the novels by this author who is more often than not treated by his fans and the publishing industry as some kind of mystical seer or high priest of sci-fi, instead of the paranoid nut-job with minimal writing skills that he truly was.

And that's not to say I'm not a fan because I am, although a little Dick goes a l
Jul 19, 2008 rated it liked it
This might be an impossible statement, but I think this was the weirdest K Dick I've read. Not that it was weirder, per se, but it was weird in a way I wasn't expecting from Dick -- its paranoid alternative reality dystopia (expected) meets New-Age Christianity (not expected).

I liked that most of the book was narrated by "Philip K. Dick," a science-fiction author well-known for such books as Flow My Tears, Said the Policeman, and The Man in the High Tower. The middle section, narrated by "Phil's
Erik Graff
Dec 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dick fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
I recall reading this one at night near the wood-burning stove in the living room of the Michigan cottage while it was too cold to sit on the porch. While despairing of Dick's writing style, so reminiscent of mediocre 1950's science fiction, I enjoyed the story itself. As usual, there are the themes of ordinary people against extraordinary powers and of the problematics of human identity. ...more
Aug 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nixon-era paranoid schizophrenia as only PKD can do it. Parts of it made me laugh out loud, which is unusual for his books. You might find it interesting to contrast this with VALIS; however, I've forgotten 99% of VALIS, so I can't say any more than that. ...more
Sotiris Makrygiannis
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
a usa president planted by the Russians. the guy predicted trump 30 years earlier? wow!
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
not PKD's finest work, but a good read, especially considering the parallels to current politics. US presided over by a bumbling totalitarian president secretly installed by Russia, hmm. ...more
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Radio Free Albemuth is my personal favourite amongst Dick’s VALIS period books. It would be interesting to know why his publisher rejected it (or rather required extensive rewrites). Perhaps part of it was its portrayal of President Fremont, a blatant avatar of Richard Nixon, as a power mad figure responsible for all of the major political assassinations of the 1960s was still considered libelous, even in Watergate days – it’s one thing to call Nixon the Antichrist (as Dick does), it’s another ( ...more
Scott Holstad
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, philip-k-dick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This short novel is filled with a vast number of seemingly unrelated themes that (eventually) get tied together in a beautiful way. Christian Anarchism, anti-imperialism, The Cold War, Judaism, state-communism, panetheism, riffs about Robert Heinlein's politics, even references to the Ubik universe.

Definitely a must read for any sci-fi junkie. I wil say, however, the pacing was a little rough and the characterization was a little flat. I agree with critics that yes, this is not Dick's best work
Mack Hayden
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fun-fun-fun
This has got everything you want out of a Philip K. Dick book: people flitting around at the edge of sanity / reality the whole time, philosophical / theological musing, incisive social commentary, and that perfectly paranoid vibe he nails almost every time. I still haven't read VALIS so I feel like I may have missed the full experience of this one. The emphasis on religion in this book really engaged me, ranging from the outright kooky to the surprisingly sane. It may not be his absolute best, ...more
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, PKD really predicted quite the future in this one. A totalitarian government that tries to root out anyone that’s against the party, and a tyrannical leader who gains absolute power and is secretly working for Russia is eerily spot on to the present day. Add in the sci-fi element of VALIS, the satellite/alien/god(?) that gives select people instructions on pretty much anything, especially that which would make the world better, and this book is vintage PKD.
Sean Reed
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Unlike anything I've read. This novel reads like a political drama, philosophical work, religious text, and sci-fi thriller all at once. PKD seems to have written a quasi-manifesto here, cobbling together what are, perhaps, decades of exploring various traditions and intermingling them. I can't help but love the results. A thought-provoking and thrilling narrative. It's my favorite book by Dick thus far. ...more
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Thoughts on the movie? 2 16 Nov 18, 2014 10:41AM  
Philip K Dick: Our Q&A with creators film Radio Free Albemuth 18 62 Nov 02, 2014 02:50PM  

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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Di ...more

Other books in the series

VALIS Trilogy (3 books)
  • VALIS (VALIS Trilogy, #1)
  • The Divine Invasion
  • The Transmigration of Timothy Archer

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